When we implemented a cost, quality, outcomes (CQO) initiative throughout our organization, we learned a tremendous amount about how to foster consensus among stakeholders — a critical component of any successful CQO roll-out. But three steps stand out on our journey to success:
1. Keep the patient at the center.
In supply chain management, it's easy to see only materials. Of course, all of those materials relate to patients. When we put the patient at the center of our CQO initiative, we were able to visualize everyone across the organization involved in patient care: physicians, clinicians, supply chain, administrators and others. All of these stakeholders need to be involved in the CQO dialogue because it won't succeed without everyone's buy-in and participation.
2. Find out what's important to the clinicians.
Physicians' top priority is patient care. In order to foster physician engagement with CQO initiatives, we took the time to get their point of view regarding clinical outcomes for various service lines. This sounds like an obvious step, but so often organizations present performance improvement initiatives to clinicians without ever engaging them in the process. CQO won't work well if physicians and other clinicians don't feel involved, or if they feel plans are being forced upon them without their input.
3. Assemble high-quality data related to outcomes.
Once we understood the clinicians' viewpoints on patient care, we were able to assemble high-quality information on supply costs relative to clinical outcomes. We took that data to our clinical stakeholders so they could review costs and work with us to create opportunities to maximize both clinical and financial outcomes with our patients.
By involving clinicians early in the CQO process, we have been able to more effectively deploy performance improvement initiatives across our organization. We learned when everyone pulls together, we can create a great patient experience that also meets our financial goals.